Greetings to everyone in game land! (Not to be confused with Gameland in Jonathan Maberry‘s Rot & Ruin/Dust & Decay YA zombie series. Great series if you’re ever in the mood for some zombies and a story with heart!)
Hope you all had a better week than I did… No gaming. Work is a pain. And we’re still trying to get our water damage repaired. Things have to improve, right?
Enough whining. Looking on the positive side, I’ll game again in 9 days. The weekend is almost here. And hopefully all this insurance stuff will settle out in a week or two.
That said, there’s plenty to smile about in the gaming world, right?!
This week, my second article in the “Points on a Map” series went live at the Nevermet Press blog. This post is focused on some of the personalities who call Ashid and the Oasis of Del Foor home. It’s been a fun series to write so far! The next post will focus on some of the adventure ideas and story threads to be explored.
And next week right here at Game Knight Reviews I may have a new interview to share, some new reviews, and the Gassy Gnoll’s take on the “Things to Love, Things to Hate” February RPG Blog Carnival going on this month at Nevermet Press. What exactly does a gnoll love to hate I wonder? Guess we’ll find out!
So that’s it for now… Let’s get to the news, shall we?
Food for Thought
- My love for maps has come up many times in these Friday news roundups… So when I saw the article at The Awl from Victoria Johnson about “The Maps We Wandered Into As Kids,” I was excited. She includes maps in the article from The Princess Bride, The Phantom Tollboth, Winnie the Pooh, The Princess Bride, The Wizard of Oz, The Hobbit, and The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel).
- Need a concealable weapon as ancient as the ninja and shogun of Japan? Check out the new “Real Steel” article from Todd Gdula @ Kobold Quarterly about the Manrikigusari… a weighted chain with no blades. Think of it as a whip with more heft and I can imagine this thing doing quite a bit of damage in the right hands.
- If you’re in need of a different kind of weapon to slay a complex plotline, check out the early review by Neuroglyph @ ENWorld of the Story Forge Card Deck from Kelp Entertainment. It sounds like Neuroglyph had fun seeing what the cards could help come up with. They should help GMs and fiction writers of any kind to inspire some new stories. For more details, check out the Kickstarter project!
- Is there any royalty in your game worlds? If so, you might want to check out Leif G.S.’ s article at Saga Writing… Sure, your lords and ladies may be a bit cliche, but those tropes are there like training wheels to keep your players from falling off the wagon. If you stray too far from some of the common ideals of fantasy worlds, you may lose your players.
- If you’re looking for things for your non-royals to do, check out this great website for inspiration about what people do in medieval cities. I even learned a few new professions like “stewsman” (brothel keeper) and “colporteur” (seller of religious books)!
- Do you run a game set in a post-apocalyptic world? Do you want to? Apparently there was an explosion at a Russian power plant recently and this dash-cam video with John Lennon’s “Imagine” playing softly in the background is VERY creepy and should offer a bit of inspiration. I hate it when all the lights go out suddenly after an explosion on the horizon, don’t you? (Thanks go to Jason Plafke @ Geekosystem for finding this video!)
- And if that wasn’t creepy enough, this undead concept art from artist Keith Thompson should be. Cyriaque Lamar @ io9 posted pictures this week documenting some very strange (and grotesque) beasties.
- If you need an odd piece of art to inspire you – check out target="_blank">this submarine in the middle of the desert found by Lauren Davis @ io9. What’s the story YOU can come up with for why it’s there and what’s been built up around it?
- Names have power. We all know that by now, right? Well, Nick @ Troll in the Corner has some wise words around using some method to your madness of naming. A few naming conventions can go a long way to tying things together.
- Or if you’re more interested in adding a bit of color to your urban fantasy setting, check out Chris Buono’s collection of “150 Benign Urban Fantasy Encounters” at Roleplaying Tips. He had me with #1 when he emptied a chamber pot on the PCs. Honestly, what’s better than that to spark some action from your players!?
Games and Gaming
- Growing up as the son of two teachers and having a sister who still teaches, I have a ton of respect for public educators. And if you can work in some gaming into the classroom, that’s impressive! Rolling20s (Tracy Barnett) @ This is My Game has been writing a series of articles on combing teaching and GMing a bit… The most recent is about having a “lesson plan” for your game to make sure you’re covering your bases.
- Who keeps the governor on your games? Is it the GM, the players, or a bit of both? I’ve run campaigns where it’s securely in one camp or the other and it’s always best somewhere right in the middle. This week at Gaming Tonic, they have a great article about striking that balance or getting into a bit of a tug-of-war. Part of the fun of gaming is seeing where the story leads and if you’re not willing to give your players some slack in the line, you may miss out on some great side trips from time to time…!
- Rules. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re a part of every game. Jeffrey @ Troll in the Corner ruminated this week on the role of rules in roleplaying games. Do you think rules offer a set of guidelines or are they the letter of the law? I fall on the “guidelines” side of the equation, but I’ve played with enough rules lawyers to know there are plenty of folks on the other side of the spectrum as well.
- Dragons. They’ve been in the name for Dungeons & Dragons since the beginning. So why wouldn’t you want to include a ghost dragon in your 4E campaign? The Id DM has “Durgauthbalavoar” for just such a use!
- Rolang’s Creeping Doom always has some of the best and wackiest random tables… This week we see “The Institute of Deathology” – aka how to populate a necromancer’s tower or hidden lab. Vicious! Or perhaps you’re looking for some creepy coins to put in a PC’s pocket and ruin their day? “Ten Cursed Coins” does that and much more…
- Or if you’re just trying to figure out how to put your players in the wrong place at the wrong time… Ameron (Derek Myers) @ Dungeon’s Master came up with a list of adventure hooks sure to make for some interesting adventures. Just how deep are your PCs willing to wade into an uncomfortable situation?
- Do you need some ideas for printable floor plans and cardboard scenery? Billiam Babble @ Adventures and Shopping has a great list of low-cost PDFs to fit the bill!
- Along the same lines, Tracy Hurley also had some great suggestions on 3D environments and props that you should check out at WotC!
- Does the name Shelly Mazzanoble ring any bells? It ought to! She’s the “Player-in-Chief” over at Wizards of the Coast and has a blog called “Confessions of a Full-Time Wizard” and recently published the book Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Dungeons & Dragons. Well, Mark @ Dice Monkey had a chance to chat with her about D&D Next as well as some other things… Great interview!
- With all of the great projects percolating at Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, I guess I’ve become a bit myopic. But Alan Henry @ Lifehacker put together a great post detailing some of the other crowdsourcing options you have available…
- I’m not quite sure where this fits, but the Digital Orc cast “Word Cloud” on Labyrinth Lord Basic and The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz! I’m a geek and love word clouds. It’s always interesting to see what appears in them. And now I’m curious how he created these!? By hand? Or in a tool?
- Exciting news out of Steve Jackson Games… Five classic Conan titles for GURPS are being re-released in PDF at the SJ Games store. These titles haven’t been available in nearly 20 years, so it’s going to be fun to dust them off and check them out! For more about GURPS Classic: Conan visit http://gurps.sjgames.com/conan.
- Meanwhile over at Louis Porter Jr. Design, they’re doing some hacking in d20 Modern. Hacking Revolution includes new rules for changing files, bouncing connections, and programming as well as new feats, terminal modifications, and programs to play with!
- If you’re more interested in the realm of NeoExodus, LPJ Design has also just released the NeoExodus: Starter Kit, featuring the setting, supplements, and ultimate decks to get you going quickly!
- And David Posener over at Raging Swan Press has been busy coming up with a collection of eight ready-to-use random encounters in a marsh area for the Pathfinder RPG. Random Marsh Encounters has a little bit of everything from witches and bone devils to ghosts and serpents.
- If you’re more of an Exalted fan, White Wolf has just released Masters of Jade - a guild of merchants skilled in selling fire to the gods and ice to Eskimos. The book details the full breadth of the guild from caravans to fleets as well as their trade with the supernatural residents of the Exalted world and more!
- In case you needed any more reasons to like Mike and the rest of the gang at Campaign Mastery, he put together a post about the standards they adhere to as far as reviews go. It’s quite detailed and impressive, definitely offering some tips to others who also write reviews. (I do my best to hold to my own standards I documented a while ago in case you’re interested. I tend to focus on the positives of any particular release more than the negatives and explain why certain things work well and others don’t.)
- Looking for a new fantasy novel? Check out Pathfinder Tales: Master of Devils by Dave Goss!
Trashcondor at tenletter recommends it as a “thoroughly satisfying story” with complex and richly interwoven threads and characters.
- Ok, so I was excited about the new game for iOS from Red Wasp Design and Chaosium set in the Lovecraft universe… Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land looks cool in the screen shots. And I should have read the review from David Oxford @ Slide to Play before I spent my $5 on it. Any game that frustrates me before I’m even through the tutorial mission needs to be taken out and sacrificed to a Shoggoth!
- Mike Shea posted a great article about his initial impressions of D&D Next last Friday at Critical Hits that offers some insights into the early work that’s gone on. I’m particularly encouraged by the simplified ability checks and speedier battles!
- Dave Chalker also posted his thoughts about DDXP and D&D Next over at Critical Hits… Running the Caves of Chaos sounds like it went better than expected.
- Random generators are awesome. And I had no idea that there were so many available over at Random-Generator.com. Check ‘em out!
- I’ve mentioned Dave’s Mapper a few times in previous posts, but now Dave Miller is starting to add some new geomorphs – including side views! (Thanks to the Risus Monkey for helping announce it!)
- And if you’re looking for some adventures for inspiration, be sure to check out the WotC “Adventure Archive.” There’s plenty there to keep you busy for a while!
That’s it for this week on the news front. Of course, if you need a bit more of a news fix you should check out “What’s Up With D&D?” @ ENWorld from Chris Hackler (Gaming Tonic), the Weekly Roundup from the Roving Band of Misfits (check out the awesome Donkey Kong miniature!), and The Weekly Assembly from the Gamer Assembly!
Oh, and before I forget – Happy First Anniversary to Mythopoeic Rambling! Congrats and best of luck moving forward!
I hope everybody has a great weekend!
As always, if you feel I missed something (and it would be impossible NOT to), drop me a quick note via the contact page or drop me an e-mail at news(at)gameknightreviews(dot)com and I’ll add it to the list for next week!
- EN World Review – Pre-Release Review of Story Forge Cards from NEUROGLYPH Games (neuroglyphgames.com)
- EN World Review – The Secret Fire RPG by George Strayton from NEUROGLYPH Games (neuroglyphgames.com)
- Allow your Players to be Awesome (nevermetpress.com)